Reportback on Demo in Hamilton in Solidarity with Charlottesville
About 250 people turned out for a rally and march in Hamilton, Ontario called by some informal local anarchists in solidarity with the anti-fascists who confronted the far-right in Charlottesville. We were especially thinking of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a nazi drove his car into a demonstration, as well as of all those who were injured.
The rally gathered in front of Jackson Square, where a large red and black banner read “Antifascist Here and Everywhere! Solidarity with Charlottesville”. Over a thousand leaflets were distributed, inviting people to a fundraiser dinner and to make the link the with context in Canada:
“As the far-right tide continues to rise south of the border, reactionaries in Canada are copying their practices and rhetoric as a way of maintaining and deepening the racist, patriarchal, and colonial social structures that dominate North America. While the ideas of the far right have become more normalized, the killing of this anti-fascist shows us what the consequences of these ideas are.”
Before taking the street, two speakers got on the megaphone to share a bit of analysis and build up some collective energy in the crowd. The first speaker emphasized the specific threat posed by the far right and discussed some of the finer points of confronting them:
“If you march side by side with nazis, you are at least a nazi sympathizer. And fuck that. All of these far right movements are white supremacist.” … “While I think these far-right groups are less organized and most of them are pathetic crybabies, it only takes one coward to drive his car into a group of people. Don't fucking wait for a white supremacist tro kill one of your friends or comrades before you get angry. Or organized.”
The second speaker talked violence and free speech, then offered an idea for an anarchistic response to far-right organizing, saying:
“Some people are using anti-fascism to opportunistically recruit for their parties. But instead, I think it's more interesting for people to have a conversation about anti-fascism in the groups and spaces they are already part of. Talk with the people you like to work with, take initiative, call for support, and support the anti-fascist activity of others who share your values … A multiplication of initiatives keeps us from being caught between competing authoritarians.”
We then took to the streets heading west on King and looping around J Square, putting up tons of stickers and yelling our faces off: “Every gender, every race! Punch a nazi in the face!” Back at King and James, we paused to heckle some anti-choice losers who had set up signs, then continued south to Charleton to end in Durand Park.
While the battle raged in Charlottesville on Saturday, lots of comrades in Hamilton were participating in a large tenants conference in this park, planning for direct action against landlords. Confronting the far-right physically is vitally important, but it's also necessary to undercut their rhetoric and point towards our real enemies: we're not struggling to find housing and living in poverty because of migrants – it's because of bosses and landlord!
Lots of people in Hamilton are thinking about the brave folks who mobilized in Charlottesville to push back against the far-right and though we're up in Canada, many of us still feel deeply implicated in and affected by what happened. Gathering together on Monday to show our collective rage also gave us a chance to find each other, share ideas, take up space, and imagine what comes next.
In solidarity with Heather, those injured, and everyone who has been mobilizing to confront the far-right these past months.
For autonomous, decentralized responses to the far-right that push forward struggles against the state and capitalism